Favorite Prototypes At IFT Delight The Palate More Than The Brain

Our news and trends editor professes her personal bliss (and bias) for all things delicious.

By Diane Toops, News and Trends Editor

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Because I'm not a food scientist, when I wander a show such as the Institute of Food Technologists' Food Expo this past July, I'm more interested in delighting my taste buds than my brain.

I do appreciate and admire the incredible strides in the development of ingredients and technologies that solve functional issues in food product development and improve health. But my personal bliss at IFT is to find those product prototypes that, while highlighting interesting new ingredients, also are so delicious they should be on retail shelves. It was especially tough this year because there were more great tasting prototypes on the floor than usual and less time to taste.

Gluten-free Cinnamon Rolls from Grain Processing Corp. featured Enreco's Sterling Choice Smooth Grind Golden Flaxseed, an excellent source of ALA omega-3 (320mg per serving) and fiber. They were made using Pure-Dent B700 cornstarch, which works as a clean-flavor bulking agent and improves dough consistency when rolled, and Inscosity B656 food starch modified to support cell structure development, provide volume and retain moisture. A fiber claim was difficult to achieve, so whole grain sorghum and buckwheat flours were used. These scrumptious cinnamon rolls contain at least half of a whole-grain serving, qualifying for the Whole Grains Council basic stamp at 8+g per roll. They were topped with Bakery Glaze, featuring Maltrin M150 maltodextrin to control sweetness and Pure-Cote B790 food starch-modified to build solids and prevent moisture migration.

Eating protein at breakfast helps protein intake throughout the day, which, research shows, may provide maximum benefits to some populations. USDEC/DMI's Breakfast Bites, a delicious, convenient, high-protein, lower-sodium bite-size breakfast prototype could help busy kids and adults get their daily required nutrients and kick-start their day. Protein-fortified dough and cheese contribute to the 21g of protein (42 percent of the DV) and 25 percent DV of calcium in every serving. And at the end of the day, busy consumers can unwind with Honey Lavender Soothie, which blends the natural flavors of honey and lavender with milk for a soothing, warm, nutritious high-protein beverage. Every serving contains 12g of protein and 30 percent of the DV of calcium and vitamin D -- an excellent source of each.

With the economic downturn, consumers are increasingly finding solace in comfort foods – the so-called "lipstick" effect, trading down from expensive luxuries to smaller indulgences. No matter how your stock portfolio is doing, the Decadent Chocolate Brownie Bites (no, you can't eat just one) from Cargill Inc. and its Wilbur Chocolate business unit will make you feel like a millionaire. The challenge was to add chocolate liquor into a bakery mix without additional processing to achieve a chocolate experience you can't achieve with cocoa powder alone. The result was Wilbur Chocolate Duet Powdered Mix in three flavor profiles – Chocolate Notes, Fruit Notes and Fudge Notes -- that need no melting or special handling and allow for "real chocolate" labeling. I must confess and apologize to Cargill for taking a stash for my commute home.

Almonds & Ale are one of the top flavor pairings this year, according to the McCormick Flavor Forecast 2010, which concluded, "The bittersweet character of both ingredients makes a congenial, cozy and hearty match." The Almond Board of California proved this by conducting an almonds and ale tasting exercise. My favorite prototypes from Chef John Csukor and team were Ginger-Citrus Almonds paired with Sierra Nevada Summerfest beer. Hops contain limonene and linalool compounds perceived on the tongue as citrus or lemon. Almonds contribute a flowery fresh aroma and the ginger and citrus flavorings are an ideal match with the ale. Also fun and surprising together are trendy Beer-and-Bacon Glazed Almonds paired with Blue Moon.

Why not get your Mexican-inspired street food from the freezer? Chef Jud McLester at Wixon Inc. outdid himself with Antojitos, grilled flat bread layered with shredded hickory-smoked mole seasoned cabbage and Orange Goji Berry Vinaigrette finished with marinated chicken, enhanced with Wixon's Aji Amarillo Annatto seasoning featuring KCLean Salt, an all-natural flavor modifier that matches the taste and texture of regular salt with half the sodium, and Wix-Fresh Umami to ring out the natural flavors. Wixon also showcased Meatloaf on a Stick, which delivers traditional meatloaf flavor with mashed potatoes. Very cool idea.

Coola Jazz in Guava and Pomegranate Mint flavor is a great-tasting fortified beverage made with Q-Naturale natural emulsifier and Nutriose soluble fiber from National Starch. Q-Naturale, derived from the quillaja saponaria tree, provides superior performance and clarity in clear and alcoholic beverages at reduced formulation costs by eliminating the need for weighting agents, one of the most costly ingredients in a beverage formula. I grabbed an extra bottle and let it sit in my kitchen since IFT and it's still clear with no sediment. The natural emulsifier can also be used in the delivery of high levels of nutrients and vitamins (such as beta-carotene and omega-3 fatty acids).

Consumers increasingly seek gluten-free snacks and desserts. In fact, the global market for gluten-free products is expected to reach more than $4.3 billion within the next five years, according to Datamonitor. ADM's Gluten-Free Brownie, made with ADM sorghum flour and Vegefull bean powder (used in place of wheat flour) combined with DeZaan cocoa and Ambrosia chocolate, is a delightfully gooey, moist and delicious indulgent gluten-free treat for brownie lovers of all ages.

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